Balkan Fever London – Mind the Brass
Balkan music in all its myriad forms is an amazingly popular live attraction here in London. Balkan Fever London – Mind the Brass is a new CD and download release from Green Queen Music, with 13 great tracks from London and the UK plus one international bonus. The download version has only 13 tracks.
The album has been compiled by Sebastian Merrick, fiddle playing DJ, leading promoter of Balkan music in the UK and celebrator of cultural cross-pollination; it is an insider’s pick of what’s hot and tantalising in a vibrant and ever growing scene. Balkan music is not a new phenomenon – it first entered the general UK consciousness in the late 80s and early 90s through avenues such as the music of Goran Bregović, in the films of Emir Kusturica; more recently bands like the anarchic and internationally acclaimed Gogol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box have picked up the banner and got dance floors moving to the infectious beats of Eastern Europe.
Over the last few years the Balkan movement in the UK has become more than just a sheltered enclave in the world music section. Far from being the musical cul-de-sac that cynics thought it might be, Balkan music in all its variety has truly woven itself into the fabric of the underground music scene. It has not only stuck around but it has evolved and in the case of Balkan Fever London one hears a rapidly maturing and truly multicultural explosion of talented individuals, giving live performances and producing music that is absolutely able to hold its own in both the wider and more traditional arenas.
These are bands, not just from London but from all around the UK, who, in their diversity, represent what is happening at the innovative end of the live scene. Respectful as they are, the artists on Balkan Fever London are not the purists; they are remodellers who have delved deeper than the surface of the genre, deep enough to be able to know it and work with it, play with it and make it their own.
Balkan music has captured musical imaginations and been given a number of different makeovers revealing the many different influences of the artists involved; from ska to dubstep, latin to jazz and from trad to mad, with moods ranging from the sublime to the comedic, there’s something for everyone in this compilation. This is one of the things that make this compilation stand out and also something to challenge the listener. Each track captures the energy of the live performance, the cohesive togetherness of the band with the highlights of some great virtuoso moments.
The Balkan states are at the intersection of so many worlds and their music very much reflects this melding of diverse and rich traditions. It is in this same spirit, the meeting of the diverse, that the tracks on Balkan Fever London show that no matter what your roots are, as long as you are speaking the first language of the world – music – then you are speaking a language that everyone can understand.
1. Balaka * – Gypsy Hill feat. Besh o droM
2. On Giants Shoulders – Orkestra del Sol
3. Bendi Glendi – The She’Koyokh Klezmer Ensemble
4. Los Peces – Alejandro Toledo & The Magic Tombolinos
5. Shri – The Baghdaddies
6. Number 6 – Death Ray Trebuchay
7. Band of Gypsies – Koby Israelite
8. Fight On The Streets – Max Pashm
9. Vykhid (Exodus) – The Ukrainians
10. Bom Bom* – Sam and the Womp
11. Babyschlep* – GhettoPlotz
12. Giza Stomp* – Forty Thieves
13. Unzer Toirele – Chancery Blame & The Gadjo Club
14. Ali Baba* – Dr Cat & DJ Pony feat. Deladap!
* previously unreleased track